BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Following the trial of the Leader of the Opposition and Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Six, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, on Thursday, January 10, Attorney General, the Honourable Vincent Byron, said the government has a strong argument based on the 1940s judgment in the Joyce (Appellant) vs. Director of Public Prosecutions (Respondent) case of February 1, 1946 in the House of Lords in England ( http://uniset.ca/other/cs3/joyce.html). Byron said lawyers for the government are expecting a favourable outcome.
The Attorney General referred to the ruling against William Joyce, an American citizen who resided in British Territory for about twenty-four years.
“The Joyce case is very clear that where an American citizen that was living in England had presented himself with a British passport and the House of Lords determined that the use of this passport showed that he had had protection of the Crown in England and therefore the court determined that that was akin to having allegiance and so our case is based on that very strong precedent,” Attorney General Byron said.
Minister Byron stated that the act of filling out the application form for the passport and the use of the passport to travel constitute acts of adherence, allegiance and obedience to a foreign power. He noted that Dr. Douglas has travelled 10 different times to seven countries using his Dominican diplomatic passport.
The attorney general explained that the trial saw the cross examination of three legal expert witnesses, two representing the government’s side and one representing the opposition’s. The expert witnesses provided by the Government were Mr. Reginald Armour SC, and Mr. Justin Simon, former Attorney General of Antigua and Barbuda. Both men are Dominican by birth. The lone expert provided by the defendant was Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Gerald Burton, also a Dominican.
“The lawyers for both sides were able to try to get clarification on what exactly the expert witnesses reported,” Byron said. “Having done that, we now wait for a period for each side to file submissions after which there will be a period of seven to 0 days to make a reply if necessary before the judge is in a position to make a judgement.”
Byron said the judge will then study the submissions and evidence before him and decide.
“We hope that his Lordship will do so in a quick manner as the matter has been going on for some time now and I think that the country would want to get a response as quickly as possible,” he said.
Both sides have until January 25 to submit written submissions based on evidence that was presented in court today, after which the lawyers will have until February 4 to respond, if necessary, to those submissions before His Lordship makes a judgement.
Section 28 (1) of the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis and Section Six (6) of the National Assemblies Act both provide that “a person shall not be qualified to be elected or appointed as a member if he is by virtue of his own act under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”